Coming Soon: 49 CFR Harmonization Rule HM 215O

Posted on 3/12/2019 by Roger Marks

Harmony—it sounds great when the Beach Boys do it in a song. When world governments harmonize their safety regulations to facilitate international commerce—well, that’s a little different.

Every two years, the US DOT Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration promulgates a rule to “harmonize” its 49 CFR Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) with evolving international standards. By keeping US rules lined up with those followed elsewhere, PHMSA makes it possible for global shippers to comply with just one set of rules for their shipment's entire journey, instead of many.

The changes in these biennial harmonization rulemakings range from major updates that impact every hazmat shipment to hyper-specific changes that affect only a single hazard class or even a single product. While the idea is to simplify global logistics in the long run—in the short term these rule changes can cause confusion as shippers and carriers adjust.

A Note on Hazmat Enforcement

Because they agency intends to harmonize its regulations with the latest international standards, PHMSA issued a letter on December 18, 2018 to notify the regulated community that they will not take enforcement action against any person preparing shipments using the latest international rules before PHMSA officially adopts them.  

Up Next: HM 215O Harmonization Rule

PHMSA’s next harmonization rule, HM 215O, is on the way for 2019. The rule was proposed in November 2018, and the public comment period closed in late January.

To see what industry stakeholders had to say about the planned hazmat rule changes, click this link and scroll down on the page.

Here’s a quick look at what PHMSA’s proposed in HM-215O:
  • Incorporate the newest versions of the 2019-20 ICAO Technical Instructions; the 2018 IMDG Code (Amendment 39-18); the 20th Revised Edition of the UN Model Regulations; the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria; and the 7th Revised Edition of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS).
  • Amend the 172.101 Hazmat Table to reflect changes in the UN Model Regulations, IMDG Code, and ICAO Technical Instructions.
  • Add a new classification system for articles containing hazardous materials that do not already have a dedicated Proper Shipping Name.
  • Add a lithium battery test summary requirement to demonstrate appropriate UN design testing and proper classification.
  • Amend the rules for aircraft passengers carrying baggage equipped with lithium batteries, i.e., “smart luggage.”
  • Add segregation requirements for lithium cells and batteries shipped by passenger aircraft with flammable liquids and other hazardous materials. 
  • Create non-testing alternative criteria for classifying corrosive materials.
  • Extend the sunset dates for provisions concerning the transport of polymerizing substances (from Jan. 2, 2019 to Jan 2, 2021).

Not every change to international regulations made the cut for HM 215-O. For a full look at what is and is not included in HM-215 O harmonization rule, see the proposed rule here.

Lithium Battery Harmonization

PHMSA recently harmonized some of its requirements for shipping lithium batteries by air with changing international rules. The updates, which have been in effect for most international shippers since 2016, are now codified in 49 CFR Part 173 and took effect on March 6, 2019.

Read more about harmonized lithium battery air regulations here.

Meet DOT, IATA, and IMDG hazmat training mandates 

Join us for comprehensive, engaging hazmat training when Lion presents the Multimodal Hazmat Shipper Certification workshops near you in 2019!

Learn a step-by-step approach to properly prepare hazmat shipments in full compliance with 49 CFR, the IATA DGR (air), and the IMDG Code (vessel) and meet your responsibilities under the latest domestic and international regulations.
Los Angeles March 26–29
Denver March 26–29
Las Vegas April 1–4
Kansas City April 30–May 3
Chicago May 6–9
St. Louis May 13–16

Reserve your seat now. 

Tags: harmonization, hazardous materials, hazmat shipping, IATA and ICAO, PHMSA

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